Featured Soul: Charles Esperanza

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Splish! Splash! Sploosh! An Afro-sporting little kid decides to paint an Elephant bright Blue! EleBooyah was the Elephant’s name and she wants to help paint too! Pretty soon the kid and her elephant are playing with all the colors of the rainbow. What do blue and yellow make? A funky green frog! And red and blue? An enormous purple octopus king! Discover all of the whimsical things one can create with a splatter of paint and be amazed by a twist ending that you’ll never expect!

Amanya Maloba: Why children’s books?
Charles Esperanza: My decision to pursue children’s books is very influenced by my former professor and mentor, Eric Velasquez. I realized how awesome children’s books could be—they are basically like very detailed, rendered movie storyboards. Through children’s books I could fuse my love of poetry with my love of painting. Also, I felt like my voice and ideas were very different from anything else in the children’s book field and people would recognize that and give me lots of money for it!

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February

Photo: Amanya Maloba
Photo: Amanya Maloba

I am absolutely delighted that February is finally upon us. I’ve always loved this month because of the colors—red, pink, and black. Throughout February we’ll be featuring posts that fit within the colorful umbrella of the month with a good combination of interviews with young black talent, short biographies of black leaders and pioneers, editorials, and maybe even a love poem or two 😉

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Featured Soul: Ivan Lopez

Photo: c/o Ivan Lopez
Photo: c/o Ivan Lopez

A few months ago I had the pleasure of stumbling upon Artillery Apparel Gallery in the Mission district of San Francisco. I was immediately captivated by the T-shirts and sweatshirts decorated with hand-painted, colorful depictions of animals. Even more lucky for me the maker of these shirts happened to be painting another one of his creations in the front of the shop. I’m thrilled to introduce artist Ivan Lopez as this month’s Featured Soul. Check out his views below on Mother Earth, artists’ education, his influences, aesthetic, and more. If you are in the Bay area be sure to stop by his shop, Artillery AG, on December 13, 2014 7-10 pm for a special event, M.E.WE,  marking five years of production painting supported by the San Fran and Mission communities.

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Featured Soul: Brielle

In the inaugural Featured Soul column, I’m chatting with the emerging musical force, Brielle. This Philly-based artist is a perfect example of what your mama has been telling you since you were small—beauty comes from within. From her haunting vocals, to fabulous personal style, and love affair with science and the multiverse—this chick is truly a leader to watch. Read more below for Brielle’s thoughts on her newly released EP, The Rough Break-Up, along with views on spirituality, community activism, life-changing books, and more.

Photo: c/o Brielle
Photo: c/o Brielle
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